The Rundown 2020: Original Screenplay

For our eighth Rundown article, we look at Best Original Screenplay. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Original Screenplay as well as general commentary about the race. Tuesday, we’ll cover Best Makeup & Hairstyling.

Best Original Screenplay

Winner Predictions

  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Minari (PP O)
  • Promising Young Woman (WL O) (TB O) (TL O)
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Minari (WL O) (TL R) [New]
  • Sound of Metal (PP O)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (TB R) [New]

(color and symbol key at bottom of page)

Wesley Lovell: Aaron Sorkin is a writer’s writer. He’s one of those career scribes that everyone in the writing community either idolizes or despises, but who clearly has more supporters than rejectors. The man has 16 nominations from the Writers Guild of America, many of them for The West Wing, but he’s won there three times. For a clearly popular writer to then lose to a first-timer, Emerald Fennell, suggests her film is in the stronger position here. That doesn’t mean that Sorkin couldn’t win, but that perhaps his film isn’t as loved as some might think. It has consistently underperformed this year when it could have pulled double nominations in Supporting Actor and didn’t. That said, there are five Oscar nominees and not two. Any single one of them could actually win this, especially if Promising Young Woman is fading, but I suspect the chance to honor the only woman among these nominees might be stronger than any loyalty to a particular film, though that could also benefit both Lee Isaac Chung and Shaka King. We won’t know for absolute certain until the Oscars, but this might be the consolation prize for Promising Young Woman.
Peter J. Patrick: The smart money is probably on Promising Young Woman, which would be my third choice, but I’m going to stick with my earlier prediction of Minari with Sound of Metal its closest runner-up, simply because I thought they were better written.
Tripp Burton: Emerald Fennell has become one of the breakout stars of the season, and the Academy is going to want to see her on stage with an Oscar. Promising Young Woman also fits into the recent trend of winners in this category leaning heavily into the original part of the award.
Thomas La Tourrette: Early on I would have said that The Trial of the Chicago 7 was a strong frontrunner. It would still be a worthy winner, but its standing has definitely slipped over time. I think that Promising Young Woman has definitely moved into the top spot and will likely be the winner on Oscar night. It definitely is an original story and it kept me guessing as to where it might head. It deserves to win. Sound of Metal also went places I was not expecting and it might have won in a different year, but this is a very competitive year for screenplays with all five coming from films nominated for best picture. Minari is the type of personal family drama that can win here, and would be the most likely to pull an upset, though I am not sure that is at all likely. Judas and the Black Messiah is the only nominee that I could not imagine winning. Promising Young Woman wins, but it will be a tight race.


Appears on Four Lists
Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton Thomas LaTourrette
[New] = New Prediction
[Return] = Prior Prediction Returning
(O) = Original Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series

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